2011 Volkswagen Jetta TDI: All Diesels Should Have This
February 10, 2012
But many don't. In fact, our 2012 Volkswagen Jetta TDI is one of the few I've run across with this feature.
Wait, what are we talking about?
It's the little "D" on the gas station POI list. I noticed it when using the navigation system POI feature after discovering the massive new Chevron station I pulled into did not have any diesel pumps. The 2009 Audi Q7 TDI I drove in the Audi Mileage Marathon didn't have this capability, nor did any of the contestants in our heavy-duty diesel truck shootout.
Back in 2006 I was driving the Dodge Ram and towing the big yellow 10,000 pound trailer back from the test grade near Borrego Springs. At one point I needed to stop for fuel in an unfamiliar part of eastern San Diego county, but the "D-less" POI list on its navigation system was of no help. Much swearing and consternation ensued.
Past experience had taught me to put little faith in the presence or absence of diesel fuel price signs, which sometimes look like portable real estate "Open House" signs, but without balloons, so I eventually wheeled the big rig in and out of three gas stations before I found one with a diesel pump.
Automaker engineers that configure navigation systems generally do so on a corporate-wide basis, and diesel tends to get forgotten because it represents a tiny fraction of total sales here in North America. The two companies that supply map data to all automakers certainly know which stations have diesel, but that knowledge costs a bit more and the in-car database and display system has to reckon with another variable.
Yeah, implementing this feature requires a few extra calories. But the effort seems absolutely vital if you're the one who bought a diesel-powered machine and paid the princely sum they get for navigation -- especially when you're traveling outside your zone of familiarity.
If you're considering a diesel car or truck, punch up "gas station" on the POI list before you leave the showroom. And I think we'd all be interested to hear from diesel owners with navi about any other cars that do or do not have this feature.
Dan Edmunds, Director of Vehicle Testing